“a time for war and a time for peace”
There seems to be an intrinsic drive within us to fight for good and stand up against evil. But, what happens when this drive is misdirected? And, when this very drive is stolen by the powers that be, who utilize propaganda in order to cause peoples and nations to become polarized? What happens when people fight each other – not because one nation is actually evil and the other good (though at times that may be the case to varying degrees) – but because each people has been simultaneously programmed to believe that the “other” is their enemy and the perpetrator of evil.
We know that this happens… it has happened countless times down through time, and add to the propaganda an element of fear of the “other” and you have a recipe for disaster. Sadly, so many wars have broken out throughout history that does not serve anyone, other than a class of elite who are somehow benefiting from the war materially.
But God’s people MUST be different. Yes, God’s people do have to be willing to fight evil… this is clear from the perspective of the Biblical record. But, we must be able to rise above the programming of the world, and mainstream messaging, in order to see things for what they really are. We need to recognize the “Goliaths” of the world and take up our sword (or our sling) against these evil “giant” powers – rather than partaking in the absurd practice of fighting among each other, our neighbours, and our fellow man.
The final end of the faithful King Josiah demonstrates the importance of not making fatal assumptions in war. In his day, Josiah assumed that the aggression of Egypt was evil and something he was to fight against. Unfortunately for him, the fact that he did not seek God’s counsel and presumed to know the situation by his own strength, led to his death in battle. The King of Egypt gave him fair warning, and reason to pause and reflect on his assumptions, but in the end he stood against the Egyptians – something he was never supposed to do. (From 2 Chr. 35:20-25.) Even though Josiah was extremely committed to doing what was right in his life, we are given this stark and sobering lesson to consider and meditate on – as we see his life come to an abrupt and sad end through this disastrous mistake.
In our day, the fact of the matter is, since the dawn of the industrial revolution and the development of modern weaponry, there is literally billions upon billions of dollars to be made in modern warfare. But, these weapons ONLY make money if they are being purchased for use – and, because of this, to have an ongoing income, there has to be ongoing war.
“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; let us swallow them alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil; cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse.” (Pro. 1:10-14)
If we forget and overlook this fact, then like King Josiah we may become dangerously mistaken about what is “right” in the face of war. We always need to ask ourselves, why is this battle really being fought? Is it really a question of fighting against evil, as national leadership may indicate in their communications with their people – or is it primarily an excuse to make money?
As I mentioned before, unfortunately there is a time for war – because fighting for justice is a fundamental necessity to promote the health of humanity – when evil really is being perpetrated in the world. But it is imperative that we understand when that appropriate time is.
And, the only way to determine the appropriate actions that a people should take – is by seeking the guidance and leadership of our God. And, this is more than merely giving Him lipservice, or making assumptions and suppositions based on history, or even the Biblical record. We really need to seek HIM in real life. He is everywhere present, and He is there for us to connect with, and to seek counsel from. He is the King and Judge of all the earth… He ought to have ultimate say in which battles we fight as human beings. He can see the conversations going on behind closed doors – and see beyond the words spoken to the public – which in many cases are not true at all.
Proverbs 20:22 says this: “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil;’ Wait for YHWH, and He will save you.” In other words, we were never meant to fight evil on our own, by our own situational observances and interpretation of things. By waiting for YHWH in the face of evil – we wait for Him to show us the best way to go. We do not rush into reactionary decisions ourselves.
By seeking the direct counsel of our God, we raise our decisions to the infinite heights of the Almighty God of Armies. And, decisions made from that perspective cannot but lead to true and glorious victory. Lets get clear about the battles of truth and integrity, and fight alongside our God. And, He will fight for us. Praise His name – the God of all the earth – for the battle is His.
“YHWH shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies.” (Isa. 42:13)
Wishing you all Shalom,
Written on Remembrance Day in Canada, 2016.